A labour of love: Denise shares her latest house renovation project, an idyllic cottage in rural Ascot.
It was the tree lined driveway and adjoining paddock that sold the place to me – first impressions and all that!
The house had been vacant for well over a year, it was tired in every respect and felt very sad. It also seemed soulless and despite its history, having been built at the turn of the last century, there was nothing internally to save because it had already been ripped out.
The task was to maintain the character, but also haul it into today and create a modern way of living “cottage style”.
The property is part of an enclave of three other properties adjoined around a beautiful courtyard. The house was strangely inward facing, none of the rooms benefitted from the amazing surrounding countryside.
To start with, I decided to open up the kitchen area into the old sitting room. By building on a new Orangerie with wall-to-wall bi-fold doors, we created a harmonious living/eating/cooking space reaching out to the garden and paddock beyond. This has turned out to be the real heart of the home and startles most visitors as they are expecting a small, cosy country kitchen.
Anyone who knows me understands how much I adore large hallways, I believe this is an important introduction to the home and also a great space to hold onto if you can – we’ve hosted some amazing parties and last minute dinner gatherings in ours at home. I managed to create this hallway at the cottage by removing a rather odd shaped study room, which had an unattractive door on an angle.
We also added a small side extension incorporating a new study, utility and downstairs cloakroom.
The house was completely re-wired and re-plumbed with new bathrooms and windows on the back elevation to match the new Orangerie. I was desperate to save the original old crittle windows in the rest of the house, and despite the trade off that they aren’t double glazed – they are so pretty it was definitely worth it.
The result is a very beautiful character-filled yet modern home – it has an almost tardis like quality, particularly downstairs which flows so wonderfully.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
- The downstairs doors were made bespoke and to my design, they are slightly taller than the average door and this helps to create a feeling of space.
- Underfloor heating was fitted in the new kitchen/living area which save on valuable wall space taken up by radiators.
- The furnishings are a blend of old and new pieces from all eras, this is our signature style at Layer.
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